Over the holidays, we reviewed all of the smart new business ideas we covered in 2009, and selected 10 that we believe will provide entrepreneurs with plenty of opportunities in 2010. Needless to say, it was a huge challenge to pick just 10 from such a wide range of innovative concepts. We hope you’ll find our selection as inspiring as we did!
1. Small-scale food production using membership models
The past year or two saw a huge increase in innovative, upscale mobile food purveyors working from trucks and selling everything from premium ice-cream to Korean BBQ tacos. Requiring an even lower investment, the next wave could be small-scale culinary subscription services, which allow fledgling entrepreneurs to get a foothold in the food business, and create a steady income and a loyal client base for future business activities.
Milk Made » — Dulcinea »
2. Low impact advertising
Realising that green concerns are here to stay, British media agency Curb offers nothing but low-impact advertising. Its first service used rainwater to clean logos into grubby pavements, and was quickly followed by other techniques that use sand, sea water, grass, glow-in-the-dark funghi and more to broadcast their clients’ messages in an earth-friendly manner.
3. Health tracking devices
From wireless headbands that track sleep patterns to wearable gadgets that track every move, an increasing number of options is available for people who want to track their own health-related behaviour. Recording and relaying detailed information that was previously only available through medical monitoring, most of these devices aren’t yet available worldwide, which creates a host of opportunities for distributors and localized versions.
Zeo » — Fitbit » — DirectLife » — TheCarrot.com » — Bedpost »
4. Sample stores, cafes & vending machines
Sophisticated sampling—dubbed tryvertising by trendwatching.com—isn’t new. On the rise, however, are dedicated spaces that facilitate sampling by a variety of brands, attracting consumers through the irresistible offer of free goods. Following sampling stores in Spain, sampling cafes in Tokyo and sample vending machines in Belgium, we suspect this concept will spread even further in 2010.
Esloúltimo » — L CAFE » — Boobox »
5. Discreet rooftop solar panels and wind turbines
While most homeowners would in theory like to generate their own wind or solar power, many are put off not just by cost, but by the aesthetic impact of wind turbines and solar panels. Aiming to resolve that problem are smart engineers who are creating new options that blend in with their environment. Two promising examples: rooftop wind turbines that almost disappear along the apex of a sloping roof, and solar panels shaped like traditional clay roof tiles. Plenty of opportunities here over the next decade, both in distribution and in the development of similar products.
Solé Power Tile » — Ridgeblade »
6. Rotating retail at airports and in malls
Pop-up, temporary retail is still going strong, but a new alternative has entered the game: rotating retail. Two spottings: opening soon in Glasgow Airport is Planeshop, a permanent store that brands will take over for a limited time, including changing the shop’s exterior graphics to match their identity. And in the Netherlands, BrandNew Stores aims to turn those fleeting pop-up shops into a chain concept, creating fixed spaces where brands can temporarily present themselves in a regular retail environment.
Planeshop » — BrandNew Stores »
7. Remote farming for consumers
According to Wikipedia, farm simulation game FarmVille has become the most popular game application on Facebook with 73.8 million active users in January 2010. Offering consumers a way to remotely control a patch of land that will actually provide them with an edible harvest is a new Italian start-up: Le Verdure Del Mio Orto, which lets anyone build an organic garden right from their web browser. As the produce grows, it’s picked and delivered to the customer’s door within 24 hours. Weekly deliveries are part of the package.
Le Verdure Del Mio Orto »
8. Connecting creative consumers with local fabricators
A partnership between New Zealand-based Ponoko and North Carolina-based ShopBot Tools, 100kGarages is a community of workshops distributed around the world that are equipped with the digital fabrication tools needed to precisely cut, machine, drill or sculpt the components of virtually any creative project. The network allows designers or consumers turn their ideas into physical products, and creates new business for small workshops.
9. Paying consumers to promote products they use and love
As our sister-site trendwatching.com pointed out in its sellsumers briefing, selling is the new saving: a recession-induced need for cash plus an ever-growing infrastructure are fueling concepts that help ordinary consumers make money instead of spending it. One of the easiest ways to do so is by taking on the role of marketeer for products they already use and love: from promoting concerts by their favourite bands, to helping small companies launch new products.
Hollrr » — People’s Music Store » — Posse » — Looklet »
10. Single-use toilet bag turns human waste into fertilizer
While this is a numbered list, we love all of these ideas equally. So, last but not least, a potential solution to a problem that 2.6 billion people have to deal with: no access to a toilet. Designed for use sitting, squatting or standing, the single-use, biodegradable plastic Peepoo bag is lined with a urea-coated gauze layer that disinfects all waste. Used bags are odour-free for at least 24 hours and are safe for burial underground. Within two to four weeks after use, their contents are converted to high-quality fertiliser—something that’s also rare in many areas and could become a source of income and further enrichment for individuals or villages.
Peepoo bag »